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Growing Up With Glastonbury: Emily Eavis

She was the sixth generation to be born onto Worthy Farm in Pilton and famously played her violin at the age of 5 to the Glastonbury crowd waiting for Paul Weller. More recently she controversially booked Jay-Z as the festival's first headline hip hop act and achieved a long held ambition to bring Bruce Springsteen to Glastonbury. Emily Eavis talks to Country Calling about growing up in the shadow of the world's most famous festival.

Country Calling showcases all the great stuff going on in the West Country. You grew up here, how has that defined you as a person?

It's hard to say exactly how it has defined me, but it has been an integral part of my life as a child and now. Being the 6th generation on the farm and having a festival that my parents ran meant that we spent all our time here and the beautiful valley was the basis to all parts of our life.

Obviously Glastonbury has been a huge force and benefit to the West Country. What are your early memories of growing up around the festival?

I was born in 79, the year Thatcher came in - this gave the festival a huge political drive and something to fight against and we supported CND, who we still have a relationship with now. I have memories of EP Thompson speaking from the Pyramid stage and Van Morrisson playing. Many of my memories involve seeing things from knee height and the smell of camp fires. People used to cook all of their meals at their campsites then, so around dusk you would get amazing smells dritfing up the valley. As there were fewer festivals back then, it was regarded as a much more risky thing than it is now, something that was whispered about by other kids parents in the playground in slight fear their kids would want to go down there, into the unknown, one day !

What was it like playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on your violin to such a huge audience? Were you nervous?!

I didn't really have a concept of what was happening or the vast scale of the crowd, but when they put the lights on the crowd, it gave me a bit of a fright. There was a guy in the front row wearing a luminous coat and he's the only person ! could see, I came off and said to my mum my legs felt like jelly, but couldn't quite work out why! My first taster of nerves..

It's a well earned year off in 2012. Is it a relief or do you miss the buzz?

A relief to have a fallow year, let the land rest and the farm have a break. We are already working on 2013 so in many ways that carries on as usual. It's important to have a break though, so many people work here as a labour of love and pour a lot of energy into it. Everyone needs a break to have a rest and build their energy back up again.

Which have been your favourite years at Glastonbury and why?

1995 was a magic year for me, one of those years when everything is good.. just finished my GCSEs, it was really sunny, I was so into the music and the line up was perfect for me at that time, The Verve, Pulp, Oasis etc. I also had no responsibility, it was probably the first time I experienced the festival as a punter, camping with all my mates.

Emily at Glastonbury. Pic credit: Jason Bryant

Do you get the time to go  to other festivals and which do you like?

I haven't been to any for a while, but I aim to get out to some next year. I'd like to go to Green Man and Port Eliot.

We know you've just had a baby - how are you going to spend this year in the West Country?

Getting stuck into motherhood and baby activities and enjoying the peace!

Emily with baby George. Photo: Jason Bryant

Are you thinking 2013 and what would your dream line up be?

Haha, can't say as we are aiming for our dream line up as we do every year !!




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